Sharon Osbourne Offers Her Advice to Gabrielle Union Amid 'AGT' Controversy (Exclusive)
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After opening up about her experience on America's Got Talent and her "own problems" with NBC on The Talk on Monday, Sharon Osbourne is offering words of advice to Gabrielle Union.
"She's got to stick to the way she feels, and if she feels that she wasn't treated well, and respectfully, that's her journey. And that's her story," Osbourne told ET's Kevin Frazier backstage at The Talk on Tuesday. "I thought she was great, it's not my show."
Shortly after news broke of Union's departure from the variety competition show last month, her husband, Dwyane Wade, claimed she was fired, prompting celebrity friends and fans to speak out in support of the actress on social media.
A Variety report published last month claimed that before Union's exit, she had urged producers of the show to report concerns about the show's workplace culture to NBC's Human Resources department. According to Variety, among the alleged incidents that occurred during Union's time on the show were racially insensitive jokes and acts on the show, as well as specific critical network notes on her hairstyles, which were allegedly deemed "too black" for the AGT audience. A network insider denied the volume of those notes to Variety, claiming that there were only notes about "hair continuity" for both her and Julianne Hough.
On Tuesday's episode of The Talk, Osbourne, who was a judge on AGT from seasons 2-7, said the show is a "boys club," where the female judges are paid less than the men. She reiterated her "boys club" claims to ET, saying all AGT decisions run through executive producer Simon Cowell.
"Simon owns the show, he can do whatever he wants...he can work with whoever he wants," she explained. "I'm not saying that in a passive-aggressive way -- he's earned the right to sit next to whoever he wants to sit next to. And that's it, that's the industry we work in."
"And Simon, historically, when he works on a show, he constantly changes the people on the panel. He does it with all his shows in England, and here, he does it all the time. And he's got the right to do it."
Osbourne previously claimed on The Talk that Cowell fired her from the British singing competition The X Factor for being "too old," and told ET that the media mogul "always likes to have whoever's hot at that time on his panel."
"I don't think it's served him in the past, but that's my opinion and I'm entitled to my opinion," she continued. "You can have the hottest, newest taste in town, but it doesn't mean they're right for your panel."
Of her departure from The X Factor, she added, "He said he wanted young blood, and he got young blood. And the ratings went down. Not saying that they were checking in for me, but sometimes, the newest, bestest taste in town isn't always right for his sort of shows."
Former AGT judge Howard Stern spoke out on Monday about the "toxic culture" at the show. "[Cowell] sets it up that the men stay no matter how ugly they are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are," he said on his SiriusXM show, referring to how Cowell casts the show's judges. "What he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks. Which is so obvious."
"It's the way he feels," Osbourne said of Stern's comments. "I agree with a lot of it, and he's got the right to say what he feels, the same as Simon's got the right to do whatever he wants on his show."
"Everybody's experience working on a show is different," she added, joking that any inappropriate comments behind the scenes during her tenure likely came from her own "potty mouth." "I loved the show, I loved the crew, I loved everybody on the panel. I just had an absolute blast on the show."
As for the additional reports that Cowell smokes indoors on set -- which is against the law in California -- Osbourne laughed, "Of course, Simon smokes on set, he was born with a cigarette in his mouth!... It's Simon, it's his show, he can set himself on fire if he wants!"
A source recently told ET that although Union is "done with AGT," it's her hope that she can "work with NBC to help improve the culture surrounding the show and studio."
"Gabrielle has always been an activist and wants to make positive change so nothing like this happens again," the source said.
In a new statement to ET on Sunday, NBC, Fremantle and Syco said they were working with the actress to hear her concerns. "We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture. We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate," the statement read.
See more on the controversy in the video below.
'America's Got Talent': Everything to Know About the Recent Drama Surrounding Gabrielle Union's Ousting
Gabrielle Union's 'America's Got Talent' Exit Could Be a 'Wake-Up Call' for Simon Cowell, Source Says
Eva Longoria, Ellen Pompeo and More Stars Rally Around Gabrielle Union After 'AGT' Exit